WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump pushed Georgia’s lead elections investigator in a December phone call to produce evidence of fraud in the presidential race, telling the person to “find the fraud” and that they would be a “national hero” for doing so, according to a person familiar with the call.
The December call is the latest example of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the November election, especially in Georgia, where President-elect Joe Biden beat the president by nearly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat in decades to win the state.
The call was first reported by The Washington Post. Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs confirmed to NBC News that the call took place.
Since the race was called for Biden on Nov. 7, Trump has made at least three calls to Georgia officials urging them to produce evidence of widespread fraud in an effort to overturn the results. The first call was made to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in early December, followed by the call to the elections investigator and a call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Trump called the Georgia elections investigator in December while the individual was leading an inquiry into allegations of ballot fraud in Cobb County.
The White House declined NBC News’s request for comment.
Raffensperger told The Post in an interview that he felt it was inappropriate for Trump to have interfered with the case, but added that he was unaware of what was specifically discussed on the December call.
“That was an ongoing investigation,” Raffensperger told The Post. “I don’t believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.”
Raffensperger announced an audit on Dec. 14 in Cobb County of the November election after allegations that some ballots were accepted without proper signature verifications. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced on Dec. 29 that they found only two mismatched signatures among the more than 15,000 votes included in the audit.
The inaccuracy came from a wife who signed her name to ballots for both her and her husband, Raffensperger said at the time.
In Trump’s phone call with Raffensperger, which took place last Saturday, the president urged the secretary of state to alter the vote total and launched into a barrage of discredited conspiracy theories about the election. NBC News obtained a recording of the Raffensperger phone call, which was first reported on Sunday.
Trump has been obsessively working to contest the election results since news outlets began projecting Biden as the winner. The president and his allies filed over 50 lawsuits across the county, almost all of which have been unsuccessful.
The president has been particularly fixated on overturning the results in Georgia after becoming the first GOP presidential candidate in nearly 30 years to lose the state.
Trump has targeted Raffensperger and other top Georgia Republicans, including Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, lashing out at them on Twitter and threatening to derail their political careers.
Trump has yet to formally concede the race to Biden, but he finally committed to “an orderly transition” of power on Thursday, hours after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to interrupt Congress’ joint session ratifying the election results. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer were killed.
Biden will be sworn into office on Jan. 20th.